There are some things you never want to forget, like family picnics at Point Defiance Park.
Unfortunately, some people are at risk of losing their most precious memories. A recent study has found that people who have both hearing and vision loss have a higher risk of developing dementia.
About the Study
The study, published in the journal Neurology in April of this year, involved 6,520 participants ages 58 to 101.
Each participant filled out self-report questionnaires and underwent cognitive tests every two years for a total of six years. They were also asked to rank their hearing and vision abilities as:
- Reduced, but able to function with glasses and/or hearing aids.
- Reduced, and unable to function even with glasses and/or hearing aids.
- No hearing/sight at all.
At the beginning of the study, the questionnaires revealed:
- 932 participants had normal hearing and vision; 2.3% of this group had dementia.
- 2,957 participants had either hearing or vision loss; 2.4% of this group had dementia.
- 2,631 participants had both hearing and vision loss; 8% of this group had dementia.
The six-year follow-up questionnaires indicated that 245 more participants developed dementia. The results showed that:
- 14 of 737 participants with normal hearing and vision developed dementia.
- 69 of the 2,396 people with either hearing or vision loss developed dementia.
- 146 of the 1,964 people with both hearing and vision loss developed dementia.
What This Means
From this data, researchers concluded that dementia is more than twice as likely among those with dual sensory impairment (both hearing and vision loss) than those with no impairment or just one impairment.
“Our results suggest that coexisting visual and hearing impairments facilitate dementia prevalence, dementia incidence, and cognitive decline,” said study authors.
While the researchers admit it is unclear how exactly these conditions are linked, the study emphasized the need for early intervention of both hearing and vision loss.
For more information about the link between dual sensory impairment and dementia or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Evergreen Speech & Hearing Inc today.